Baird with family member Gina
Farfour at the crash site near
Shanksville in Somerset County
by Donald Stastny
Gina Farfour's sister-in-law, Sandy
Bradshaw, was a flight attendant on
Flight 93, the plane that crashed into
a field outside Pittsburgh on September
11. Bradshaw, other crew members and
passengers were credited for resisting
the hijackers that day after learning
on cell phones about the World Trade
Center and plans for their plane to
fly into a building in Washington, D.C.
"I want people to know what a sacrifice
my sister-in-law made, whose only crime
was to go to work that day," said
Generations to come can be linked to
that day with a memorial at the Somerset
County crash site, and September 11
this year marked the opening of a competition
for its design.
"I hope children in the future
will understand the impact of that day--how
it changed international politics,"
Farfour, an interior designer from North
Carolina, is on the Design Solicitation
Committee of the task force charged
with creating the memorial. The approximately
80-person Flight 93 Memorial Task Force--formed
by the nonprofit Families of Flight
93 Inc. and the Somerset County Commissioners--is
composed of family members, local residents,
government officials and first responders,
in addition to other stakeholders.
The latter category includes Penn State
Landscape Architecture Assistant Professor
Tim Baird. The task force--working with
the National Park Service, which will
eventually take over the site, and the
Flight 93 Federal Advisory Commission--needed
experts with design experience and appointed
Baird, who was in landscape architecture
practice for 25 years before entering
"I see this as part of my service
to the community and the nation,"
Farfour sees Baird's involvement as
crucial: "Tim has been the voice
of reason and the greatest person to
work with," she said.
Community Seeks Help
Somerset County District Attorney and
Flight 93 Federal Advisory Commission
member Jerry Spangler agrees. "We
needed expertise beyond what the local
community has to offer," he said,
adding that Baird is one of the "superstars"
on the task force.
For his involvement, Baird said: "Any
time you have a large group of people
working on a sensitive issue, there
are always going to be challenges. But
I am constantly amazed at how well this
group gets along. There is a lot of
respect." Baird shares credit for
work on initial competition developments
with Penn State employees Mike Conroy,
Steve Foster and Jan Grasser.
As for the competition, Baird hopes
it will attract "creative people,
from all walks of life, with ideas."
This fall, to help publicize the competition,
the College of Arts and Architecture
is planning guest lectures by competition
advisers. The winning design will be
chosen by spring 2005.